Bradley Wiggins pulls out of Abu Dhabi Tour to focus on upcoming Six Day races

The organiser's provisional start list included Wiggins, but the Tour de France winner is unlikely to take to the road in Abu Dhabi

Bradley Wiggins, Tour of Britain 2016, stage 7a time trial (Andy Jones)
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Bradley Wiggins will race only the London and Ghent six-day races in the next month, and miss the Abu Dhabi Tour, Team Wiggins confirmed on Thursday.

>>> Bradley Wiggins on allergies: ‘I was paranoid about making excuses’

Organiser RCS Sport announced Wiggins would race a month ago when it presented its route, this October 20 to 23. He had already raced its other Middle East race, the Dubai Tour in February.

On Wednesday it released the provisional start list with the five-time Olympic gold medallist named.

According to the start list, he would headline his Wiggins team with Scott Davies, Jon Dibben, Chris Latham, Michael Pearson and Andy Tennant. The team also raced the first edition last year, but without Wiggins.

The organiser listed him with sprint star, and his Madison world champion partner, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and road race Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing).

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish win the Madison, Track World Championships 2016

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish win the Madison, Track World Championships 2016
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

The Press Association, however, reported otherwise on Thursday morning, before his team confirmed the news later that day. It wrote that Wiggins would only race on the track at the Six Days of London, October 25 to 30, and Ghent, November 15 to 20. Wiggins is due to line up with Cavendish in both track events. The Ghent Six-Day, where Wiggins was born, should in theory close out his career.

Wiggins had said that the Tour of Britain in September would be his last road race. The organiser told CW that when the team sent its list of riders, it included Wiggins.

The organiser still had still not heard otherwise late Thursday afternoon despite reports circulating, and released a statement saying it was 'disappointed' to learn through the media that Wiggins would not attend.

"Before the first announcement (20 September) we received the approval from Team Wiggins to communicate the presence of Bradley Wiggins at the upcoming Abu Dhabi Tour," the organiser said in the statement.

"Last week the Official Enrolment Form was submitted by a Team Wiggins official to RCS Sport with the name of the rider Bradley Wiggins included in the provisional entry list.

"In addition, as is usual practise for a major race, flights and accommodation have been booked in the name of Bradley Wiggins and those accompanying him.

"The race organisers are surprised and disappointed to see different stories in the media regarding Bradley Wiggins and the Abu Dhabi Tour."

In the last month, Wiggins has been swept up in a storm. Russian hacker group Fancy Bears released his and others' Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) data. Many criticised the fact that Wiggins had certificates to inject corticosteroid triamcinolone ahead of the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Tour de France and the 2013 Giro d'Italia, and that he never mentioned it.

UK Anti-Doping is investigating British Cycling and Team Sky after the Daily Mail revealed that a staff member delivered a mysterious medical package to Sky on the final day of the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.

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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.